Another preseason award watch list announced; another Rebel lands on the list. Junior safety Tony Conner is one of 42 players named to the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list Monday. The Jim Thorpe Award goes to the best defensive back in college football.
Conner is no stranger to preseason watch lists. He has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list which is given to the nation’s top defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. He is also a preseason All-SEC first team member as chosen by the league’s 14 football sports information directors and a preseason All-American as named by Athlon Sports.
The former South Panola High (Miss.) standout put up solid numbers last season for Ole Miss, recording 69 total tackles, including nine tackles for loss. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper has Conner at No. 20 on his first big board rankings for the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Jim Thorpe Award was established in 1986 and is named after a phenomenal all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled at multiple positions (running back, quarterback, and kicker) but stood out as a defensive back. Outside of his accomplishments on the gridiron, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
The watch list is not final, as players who have outstanding seasons will be added as the season progresses. The Thorpe Award winner will be selected from three finalists and announced December 10, 2015 on The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.
Feature Image Credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk